Review of "Power Play", by M. E. Sutton

A lot of people, kids as well as grown-ups, tend to get so completely immersed in role-playing games that the games become more real to them than their own lives.

What would happen if that scenario actually happened?

Take Jaycee Hillyer, for example.  She is a thirteen-year-old adolescent, just trying to survive middle school.  This is not terribly easy, as she and her friend Stu are gamers to the extreme.  Their lives revolve around “Hero’s Sword”, a massive multi-player online game.  Others around her, especially the bullying cherleaders, don’t understand this world, and therefore treat her miserably.

So, life in the real world stinks.  She would love to do what her avatar, Lyla Stormbringer, can do: riding, archery, beating down the bad guys, etc.

One especially trying afternoon is made so much better by the arrival of a new piece of hardware–The Controllix 500.  But does she control it, or vice versa?

Happily playing the game, she receives a message onscreen:  “Lady Starla is in trouble from bandits.  Do  you accept the quest?”  She chooses to do so, and is suddenly plunged into the world, and the person, of her avatar.

Together with the steward of the Lady’s lands, Roger Woodbridge, she sets out to fulfill the quest she has sworn to accomplish.  But who is the villain behind the bandit raids, and what does the fiend hope to achieve?  She will need all of her newly-acquired skills to succeed.

Ms. Sutton has written a very cute YA book here.  What I like is that it is not merely a quest fulfilled, it is a life redeemed.  Jaycee can face the ups and downs of her own life much more easily, and more maturely, after her adventures inside the game.  There are undertones of first-love, of jealousy, of friendships tested.  It is a coming-of-age that almost everyone can relate to on some level.  This book is not only for young adults; most people can relate to what happens to Jaycee in her real life.

Written with wonderful humor and a real sense of the mindset of youth, “Power Play” is a story not to be missed.  I hope we get to hear about Jaycee as she grows up into the mature young woman she is capable of being.

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